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The Bulls technically did *something* on draft night, but it was negligible in the face of their problems
Enter another raw toolsy non-shooter who won't play?
We all set ourselves up for disappointment heading into a draft night with zero selections, but the Bulls did the bare minimum and got their way into the second round, acquiring the #35 overall pick from the Washington Wizards and selecting Julian Phillips.
I’ve done zero draft prep, but can rely on the amateur experts. Consensus among them is that this was a “boring” selection and very AKME-era: a 19 year old who’s 6’8” and has great defensive tools, motor, and athleticism, but can’t shoot and merely has potential with his handle.
Here’s a full scouting video from The Box and One:
Ultimately, this sounds like a supersized Dalen Terry, who was drafted last season and then had the lowest amount of minutes played of anybody taken in that first round.
After the draft concluded, Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley met with the media (there was some other stuff they said regarding free agency I’ll address in a different post) and were pretty blandly praising Phillips as simply any addition of talent, but also that he could immediately replace a rotation player:
Bulls general manager Marc Eversley acknowledged that Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. recently declining his player option for next season played a factor in the team's choice to add another forward in Phillips.
"DJ, for everything he brought to the court -- the athleticism, the length, his ability to get out and defend multiple positions, Julian fits a lot of those same attributes," Eversley said.
Should they really be scouting based on replacing a particular 10th man when they know that player likely won’t be ready to contribute this year? Billy Donovan is still the coach and they’re trying to be competitive.
When asked about needing to improve their shooting, after having just drafted another non-shooter, Karnisovas did sorta actually commit to getting shooters in free agency, whereas Eversley claimed they really did mean it when they said they wanted to be a “player development” organization, and they did just hire a shooting coach. But they need like 3-6 more shooters, who are ready now, and for the moment Phillips is alongside Terry plus potential re-signees Ayo Dosunmu and Javonte Green (plus only-good-when-teams-leave-them-wide-open types like Patrick Williams and Alex Caruso) who are very likely not going to take the huge leap necessary to truly change this team’s overall shot profile.
Also after the draft, the Bulls signed an undrafted free agent in Adama Sanogo, a 21 year old undersized center type. Here’s a large set of clips from someone bullish on him. Not only is Sanogo part of what will be the upcoming Summer League roster, he was immediately signed to a 2-way contract. The Bulls already have two players under that contract in Justin Lewis and Terry Taylor, but I’ve been informed that the new CBA allows for a third. So bad timing for Marko Simonovic, who had a full roster spot this whole time (and will clearly…right?…get waived in July).
Unfortunately for comedic purposes, the Bulls didn’t hold a press conference on draft night where they did literally nothing. Nothing big was done or even rumored, but they did a little bit. They could plausibly say they intend on getting to work in free agency, and did say that.
But while it was thrilling (meeting the lowest bar for excitement) to see the Bulls do their first trade since August of 2021, based off of their past performance they likely traded too much to get this pick (no exact terms beyond ‘a couple of second round picks’). And then likely took the wrong player, or at least a player who doesn’t fit the team’s development timeline. If they even have one of those!